Football / European Championship: Venables disappointed but not downbeat

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The Independent Online
THE Romanians' cultured performance left Terry Venables, the England coach, with no illusions about the size of his task when the nation stages, and attempts to win, the European Championship finals. 'I've got 18 months to give us a team of similar stature,' he said.

While admitting he was not pleased with the result - even if it did maintain England's unbeaten run under his stewardship - Venables refused to be downbeat.

'We didn't go about the game as we said we would - that was a little disappointing,' he said. 'But then we've had only one day's proper training which makes it difficult to lay down lots of things.

'We were playing against a very good technical team who've been together for 10 days recently and for 40-50 days during the World Cup finals. We won't meet many better teams between now and the finals.'

Venables thought England paid the World Cup quarter- finalists too much respect in the first half. 'If we'd gone about things a little better there wouldn't have been the problems that we faced later. But the young players will learn from the experience.'

He declined to discuss individual performances but thought that Robert Lee - the first England scoring debutant since Blackburn's Alan Shearer - had scored the sort of goal 'he's famous for at Newcastle', adding: 'He worked very hard for the team.'

Venables did, however, pick out a couple of Romanians for special mention - Florin Raducioiu and, of course, Gheorghe Hagi.

Anghel Iordanescu, the Romanian coach, was a little perturbed about some of the tackling and when asked whether Paul Ince's ferocious challenge on Gheorghe Popescu was one of them, he answered: 'It might have been.'

Summing up, Venables said: 'It was just the kind of game we needed. We still got a distance to go but that's not to say we can't go that distance.'

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